|3/27/2020 1:01:00 PM|
Confirmed Iowa County COVID-19 cases triples in two days
Governor Evers issues safer at home order
|Late Monday night, the Iowa County Health Department announced its first confirmed COVID-19 positive case and by Tuesday that number had tripled to three.|
A press release shows that the first confirmed case is a 26 year old female. She had recently travelled to Dane County and is not hospitalized.The individual has been home and under self-quarantine since returning to Iowa County and has had no known contact with a COVID 19 case.
"We are in frequent contact with this individual to monitor symptoms and ensure there is support to be able to isolate at home," said Debbie Siegenthaler, Iowa County Health Officer.
The press release added that the Iowa County Public Health is aggressively monitoring this outbreak and investigating potential cases in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
Tuesday Siegenthaler announced the current number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa County rose to three.
All three cases are young people ages 24-26 and are at home under self-isolation. None of the cases are hospitalized.
"We have determined that one case did have contact with a known positive case of COVID 19," Siegenthaler said.
The Iowa County Health Department wants to remind residents that we expect to see an increase in cases in the coming days and weeks.
"Although there are three cases of confirmed COVID-19 in Iowa County as of 5:00 pm, March 24, we should assume there are undiagnosed cases of COVID-19 in our community," adds Siegenthaler. "We are learning more every day about this virus and it is becoming clearer that people are likely unknowingly transmitting the virus to others even if they are not exhibiting symptoms. This highlights the critical importance that people do their part in the #Safer at Home Order issued Tuesday by Governor Evers.
Iowa County Public Health will post updated COVID-19 test counts and results for Iowa County residents on its website (https://www.iowacounty.org/departments/COVID-19) each day starting today Tuesday, March 24, 2020. These results will be updated daily at approximately 4:00 pm.
Iowa County positive cases: 3
Iowa County samples submitted for testing: Approximately 67 county-wide
Iowa County percent of tests completed: Approximately 80%
Wisconsin positive cases: 457 (32 counties)
Wisconsin deaths: 5
High-Risk populations: 60 years and older, underlying medical conditions
In response to the announcements President and CEO of Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville Lisa Schnedler expressed confidence in hospital staff and the planning that the organization has made to prepare for this pandemic.
"We believed this day would come," remarked Schnedler, "which is why we have been working tirelessly in recent weeks to make dramatic changes to services and clinic procedures. All of these precautions are being taken to protect members of our community from potential exposure, and to protect and prepare our staff to manage COVID-19 cases. I have a great deal of confidence in our ability as an organization to respond, and in our staff's ability to provide extraordinary care as we battle this pandemic."
Gov. Tony Evers announced on Twitter Monday morning that he would issue a statewide "Safer at Home" order, which took effect Tuesday. Evers pointed out that following the Safer at Home order is of utmost importance.
"People across our state are still out and about unnecessarily that are putting our friends, our neighbors, and our communities at risk. Please #StayHome and help us save lives," Evers tweeted. "Workers providing essential care or services in our communities will be allowed to continue to travel to and from work. That includes folks like healthcare professionals, grocers, family caregivers, among other people whose work is critical for folks across our state."
Although Iowa County has been on high alert for the COVID-19 virus, its rapid impact appeared last week, greatly affected local businesses, schools, government buildings, and more. It has forced Iowa County's workforce to take necessary precautions such as temporary layoffs, and provide remote work options.
Iowa County native Megan Thomas is a counselor for Oregon Mental Health Services (OMHS), LLC. She stated that the #Saferathome protocol has greatly affected her work, after her clinic director chose to follow the governor's recommendations and hold off on face to face contact for the time being(at least two weeks). Virtual counseling sessions have been an option, but with some catches.
"We luckily have been able to utilize the avenue of Tele-Mental Health to adequately meet the needs of our clients," Thomas said. "This still poses many obstacles with additional documents, consents, and barriers for those who do not have access to the internet in their home. This has all taken time that has been critical for our clients struggling with mental health issues that have been intensified during this time."
Thomas added, 'We are grateful for the government's assistance in making this transition as speedy as possible and will continue to work to provide mental health services to our communities as we all struggle to feel settled right now."
Thomas will be working from home and utilizing Tele-Mental Health to continue to connect with her clients.
Captain Joe Trovato of the Wisconsin National Guard announced on March 20 that the Guard is ready and on standby. The Wisconsin National Guard consists of 10,000 Soldiers and Airmen from around the state. They represent a ready pool of resources and available to the governor and local communities.
About 30 Wisconsin National Guard troops mobilized to state active duty last week to help the Wisconsin Department of Health Services transport a group of Wisconsin residents to their homes for self-quarantine after their return from a cruise on the Grand Princess. Those troops remain on state active duty to transport seven remaining cruise ship passengers when they return.
Local National Guard member Tariq Touir said that he is also ready if he gets the call.
"As of right now, all that I've heard is to be prepared but nothing for sure yet," Touriq said. "My unit's not active as of right now."
The Iowa County Health Department added that all people who may have had contact with the person who has confirmed COVID-19 will be contacted directly by the Iowa County Health Department. Although this is the first confirmed positive case, it is anticipated that there may be more.
"Iowa County Health Department is ready to deal with an increased number of cases in our community. We will continue to work with DHS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our local partners to make sure our community remains safe and healthy," said Debbie Siegenthaler, Iowa County Health Officer.
For the latest information, visit the CDC's website or the DHS website. For the latest information about COVID-19 in Iowa County please visit https://www.iowacounty.org/departments/COVID-19.
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